Pacific Book Review
Subtitle: A Living Nightmare
Author: Dave Rohee
Publisher: The Mulberry Books
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir / True Crime Reviewed by: Jake Bishop
Pacific Book Review
A harrowing chronicle of entrapment, captivity, and extraction, unfolds in this true story of a Canadian businessman’s kidnapping in China, 2001. Written by Dave Rohee, the aviation professional who actually experienced it and lived to tell the tale, this story is a daily account of what he, his family, and his associates went through when he was whisked off the street, blindfolded, and locked away as his kidnappers sought half a million dollars in ransom. If it was not paid, they told Rohee and his wife that he would be killed. Both were convinced they would absolutely follow through on their threat.
The author has chosen to construct his narrative in chronologic order, giving the details of his abduction, confinement, and eventual freedom, from multiple points of view. Readers learn in first-person voice what the victim, Rohee, is actually experiencing. Simultaneously, the desperate hours unwind via his wife’s perspective from her home in Canada. There is even a reconstruction of events from one of Rohee’s employees in their Beijing office. This confluence of testimony heightens suspense as the hours and days follow one upon the other.
As Rohee details his detention, he brings his abductors to life as well. There’s Albert, the con-artist who befriended him, and tried to worm his way into the Canadian’s business with plans to eventually take it over. There’s babyface, a smiling criminal who literally sleeps with the kidnap victim to make sure he won’t try to get away. There’s the ugly man, a foul looking fellow who continually brandishes a knife and seems to revel in keeping Rohee in a state of fear. There’s the major, who appears to be the boss, and attempts to bring cohesion and military precision to the entire operation. There’s even a young woman who hoodwinks Rohee and takes part in his initial abduction.
While all of the above is playing out, the author nimbly turns his thriller into a police procedural highlighting the many avenues taken by the Canadian police, Interpol, and the Chinese to nab the culprits.
What started as an ex-airline pilot’s dream to get a flight school off the ground in China, ended as that same man’s encounter with thugs and criminals determined to take everything he had and more. Not only is Rohee’s book an engrossing memoir of captivity, it’s also a cautionary tale about trying to do business where barriers of language, culture, and morals can sometimes present obstacles too difficult to overcome.